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This Really Happened (And We Paid For It!)

Last week, I was sitting in my barbershop waiting for my turn in the chair.  A young man, 25 years old as it turned out, was in the chair before me.  The shop is small so I overheard his conversation with the barber.  He mentioned that his neck had been sore so he visited his family medical doctor.  The doctor referred the young man for x-rays (more on this later).  The x-rays revealed arthritis in the cervical spine, a condition the doctor explained to the young man as “normal aging” (more on this later).  He then prescribed massage therapy for said condition (more on this later).  At this moment, the barber made a comment or two about his own back pain struggles and solutions, but then twirled the chair around to face me and told the young man to ask me my opinion, since I’m the chiropractor.


…”More on This Later” Section:


I explained to the young man that osteoarthritis is a condition that reflects the quality of movement of the joints anywhere and everywhere in the body, including the neck.  And, further, it is not “normal aging”, and moreover, that even if it was “normal aging”, he’s only 25!  From my chair, I showed him a few ways he can move his neck to encourage proper mobility (I showed him CARs of Cervical Spine).  I also explained that since osteoarthritis of the cervical spine is a reflection of poor joint mechanics, the better prescription/referral would have been to a chiropractor (or osteopath or physiotherapist).  I also expressed my displeasure that the young man was subjected to x-rays of his neck.  Why x-ray the neck of a young man without neurological symptoms, red flags in his history, or any suspicion of sinister causes of his neck pain, and no previous attempts at pain reduction via conservative methods like visits to the chiropractor or other physical therapist.  The likely answer(s) is/are that the doctor does not understand how to examine and/or treat musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoarthritis, and moreover, just wants to reduce his/her liability for a missed diagnosis.


The young man was appreciative of my input and asked for my business card.  He seemed to genuinely have a better understanding of his problem and was more encouraged that he could and would rectify the problem.  And it only took a few minutes of chatter from the barber shop chair!


The really aggravating part is that everything that happened at the “medical level” was inappropriate and we all paid for that service with our hard-earned tax dollars.  The young man did not need to visit the OHIP paid medical doctor for his neck pain, did not require x-rays, was given an incorrect explanation for his pain, and was then treated with the incorrect referral.


Deep Breath!  Sigh.


If you’re in pain or any part of you is not working the way you think it should, please come see me so we can understand (correctly) what is wrong and how to normalize it.  It’ll cost you a few bucks (probably covered by your private health insurance), but it’ll be money well spent.  I promise.  (And if I’m stumped and/or can’t help you, I’ll direct you to someone who can.)

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